Why You Can't Get Burger King Breakfast After The Cut-Off Time

Burger King first entered the quick service breakfast market in 1979 (via The Balance Small Business). Within four years of its debut, it had perfected its early morning menu and in 1983 unveiled the "Croissan'wich" — a croissant breakfast sandwich on which much of the current Burger King breakfast menu is based. All told, the most important meal of the day accounts for about 15% of sales at the average BK restaurant, according to Restaurant Business, and in recent years the chain has sought to attract more early morning customers with menu expansions like its coffee subscription offer and its controversial (ask Forbes) Burgers for Breakfast program.

Say what you will about Whoppers for breakfast, but you can't sleep on the Burger King breakfast menu. Literally, you can't sleep on it because it ends every day at 10:30 a.m. sharp. As The Daily Meal confirms, most Burger Kings begin serving breakfast at opening time (6 a.m.), but Croissan'wiches and the like are off the table by the end of the Burger King early morning daypart — 10:30 a.m.

Why Burger King doesn't do all-day breakfast

If you have ever had the misfortune of missing Burger King's hard 10:30 a.m. breakfast deadline, you may have asked yourself why that timetable is enforced at all. Is demand for a Croissan'wich less real at 10:31 a.m. than at 10:29 a.m.? What could justify such an arbitrary limit? And whatever the underlying costs might be of extending the breakfast schedule, hasn't McDonald's already demonstrated the profitability of doing so? The Golden Arches officially erased its breakfast/daytime menu divide in 2015, and Egg McMuffin fans (and McDonald's stockholders) have been thanking them ever since (via The New York Times). Burger King was following McD's lead in 1979 when it first got into the breakfast market, so why not stay the course?

The answer has less to do with the conventions of breakfast and more to do with cooking temperatures and griddle surface area. As The Daily Meal points out, Burger King must maintain its strict 10:30 a.m. cut off point because its daytime menu items, which become available at 10:30 a.m., require higher griddle temperatures than its breakfast sandwiches. Moreover, there just isn't enough space on the griddle (and heating trays) for breakfast items and regular menu items to be prepared and served at the same time. Burger King's breakfast schedule may seem arbitrary, but there is a good reason for it.